What is Viral Hepatitis?
The word “Hepatitis” (hep-uh-tahy-tis) means inflammation of the liver and also refers to a group of viral infections that affect the liver. The liver is a vital organ that processes nutrients, filters the blood, and fights infections. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected. The most common types are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications and certain medical conditions can also cause hepatitis.
Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer and the most common reason for liver transplantation. An estimated 4.4 million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis; most do not know they are infected. Without knowing if they are infected, these individuals cannot receive lifesaving care and treatment.